Two images arranged side-by-side in dyptich. To the left: A black & white photo of Dirk, a white German man with scruffy hair and beard and intense eyes, looks at the camera. On the right: the same image in negative. All the black parts now appear in white and vice versa. Self portrait courtesy of the artist.

Meet Re•Focus Curator, Dirk Anchütz


Say a little about your art practice and/or any other identities that influenced how you approached this exhibit.

DIRK: I am a portrait photographer and I worked on two projects with people in the disability community. My approach to these shoots was the same as to any other portrait session. I always try to approach the person on the other side of the camera with respect and curiosity and I try to create an environment where a collaboration can happen.  The shoots with the Upstream Arts community were very satisfying because there was a great give-and-take happening during many portrait sessions.  I was very happy to be asked to help curate this show, and to see all the works of art that students have done in their own photo sessions with Upstream Arts.  They’ve created some very powerful images, and the diptych format adds another interesting layer to these portraits.

What was the curation experience like for you? What came up? Did anything surprise you in the process?

DIRK: The curation process was a pleasure.  Initially it was a lot of fun seeing all the images, then it became a little tougher because, unfortunately, we had to start eliminating images to find the strongest ones and also create an exhibition that does the wide and diverse community of Upstream Arts justice.  Working with the other curators was very interesting because everyone had their own thoughtful take. While not all my favorites made it into the final selection, I’m pretty happy with the images we’ve chosen.  

After this curatorial experience, what is one way that you feel called to Re•Focus yourself in relation to our disability community, or how is this exhibit calling us all to Re•Focus on the disability community?

DIRK: The curatorial work reminded me about the good work Upstream Arts is doing, and how important that is for a community.  It refocused my efforts to to do my part as a member of my community.




Dirk Anschütz is a New York based commercial and fine-art photographer.  He was born and grew up in Germany. He visited the US when he was 22 and decided to stick around. His editorial work has appeared in a wide number of national and international magazines and he photographed commercially for clients like Adidas, BMW, Mini Cooper and Bravo.

His work was shown in multiple solo and group shows in the US.  He has received a Brooklyn Arts Council Grant and numerous awards.  He also won several trophies with his amateur soccer team, the Grand Street Wanderers, but that has nothing to do with photography.

Right now he is working on a book about Fathers & Sons.

He lives with his fiancée and their son in Red Hook, Brooklyn.